By TERRY TEACHOUT
Reading, the Pennsylvania city whose name has become a byword for Rust Belt poverty, is the subject of not one but two new plays this year, Douglas Carter Beane’s “Shows for Days” and Lynn Nottage’s “Sweat.” But while Mr. Beane gave us a frothy farce about how he fell in love with theater by joining a local drama troupe, Ms. Nottage has chosen instead to take a searching look at the workers who lost their jobs when the factories of Reading started shutting down.Read the full review on WSJ.com >
By CHARLES ISHERWOOD
"The ensemble is exemplary, so uniformly excellent that I cannot point to a single performance as rising above the rest. To laud them individually would require another review. Let it be enough to say that each actor locates the rich humanity in his or her character, and transmits it to the audience with deceptive ease. When the play reaches its climax, we feel so swept up in the fracturing lives of the people onstage that the distance between that world and the real one it reflects with such searing precision has all but collapsed."Read the full review on NYTimes.com >
by CHLOE VELTMAN
The internationally-renowned, 80-year-old Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) isn’t really a festival in the traditional sense of the word. Like a Renaissance tragedy, it’s epically long — running this year from Feb. 27 to Nov. 1. And it doesn’t only focus on the works of William Shakespeare, as classics by other writers, musicals and new dramas complement the Bard’s titles.
Despite the misnomer, the high quality of OSF’s theatrical offerings and the bucolic nature of its surroundings draw playgoers from all over world each year, including many from the Bay Area. (Nearly a quarter of the audience comes from San Francisco and its surroundings, according to OSF data.)
Add to this the fact that Ashland, Oregon is among very few places in the world where you can get a discount at the local frozen yogurt shop simply by waving a theater ticket at the cash register, or have an in-depth conversation with a stranger in a bar about lighting design or the size of a lead actor’s codpiece, and you’ve got a compelling case to make the five-and-a-half-hour drive north. Read More...